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Cash interest explained

You will receive interest on balances in your platform cash account at the prevailing rate.

Embark Investment Services Limited acts as the custodian for investments on the Willis Owen platform and is one of our strategic partners that provides our Willis Owen ISA, GIA, Junior ISA and SIPP.

Embark places cash with a number of banking partners for safekeeping and to provide the potential for you to earn interest on money in your platform cash account. By managing cash in this way, it aims to provide better protection and a higher overall level of interest than if all funds were placed with a single bank.

The rates of interest paid by banks will vary. Embark retains a portion of the interest earned to cover its costs in managing platform cash.

Current Interest Rate

The table below shows the current customer interest rate payable on cash balances along with the amount of interest retained by Embark. The customer interest rate shown is that after accounting for interest retained by Embark:

Date From Customer Interest Rate Interest retained by Embark
25th March 2024 2.46% 1.75% - 2.00%

Embark can change the rate of interest at any time and it reviews the position at least quarterly. Interest is calculated and accrued daily and is credited to your account on the first of each month. If you transfer out, accrued interest is applied at the point of transfer. We will inform you if and when the interest rate changes as soon as is practicable.

Interest retained

The table below shows the yearly equivalent rates of interest Embark expects to pay based on a range of possible yearly interest rates it may earn.

Interest Embark expects to earn Customer Interest Rate Interest retained by Embark
0-1% 0 – 0.46% 0 – 0.54%
1-2% 0.46% – 0.94% 0.54% – 1.06%
2-3% 0.94% – 1.46% 1.06% – 1.54%
3-4% 1.46% – 2.02% 1.54% – 1.98%
4-5% 2.02% – 2.61% 1.98% – 2.39%
5%+ 2.61%+ 2.39%+

Historic Interest Rates

To see details of historic customer interest rates, along with the amount of interest retained by Embark, click here.

Active or passive investing

Active Investing

Active investors and active funds aim to outperform a chosen benchmark or peer group or to meet a specific investment objective. Active funds are managed by professionals who use their knowledge and skill to analyse the chosen market and to decide where and how to invest, in line with the fund’s objectives. At Willis Owen, we offer two types of actively managed investments:

  • Active funds – pooled funds managed by a professional fund manager who actively chooses where and how to invest. These are usually priced daily with trading being carried out at the next available dealing point.
  • Investment Trusts - structured as a companies and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Again, the trust is managed by a professional fund manager who uses their skill and judgement to select investments. Shares in investment trusts can be traded at a discount or premium to the value of the underlying assets. Investment trusts can borrow to invest which may increase risk.

Passive Investing

Passive investing and passive funds aim to replicate (but not outperform) the return of a particular market index. As such, passive funds do not depend on a professional making investment decisions. At Willis Owen, we offer two types of investment options which use a passive approach:

  • Passive funds - these are often referred to as index or tracker funds. Trading is carried out at the next available dealing point.
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs) - these declare their holdings daily and are traded on the London Stock Exchange at prices which vary throughout the day.

Comparing active and passive investing:

  Active Management Passive Management
Approach Aims to outperform the market
An active manager invests in assets (such as shares, bonds) that they believe will help the investment meet its objectives.
Tracks a specific index
Tracks a particular index and so does not depend on a manager making investment decisions.
Techniques Stock-picking
Active managers analyse the market in order to identify and purchase assets (such as shares or bonds) that will help them meet their investment objectives.

Passive managers usually adopt one of two approaches to track their chosen index:
The replication approach
A very straightforward way to match an index. A manager buys the same shares as are in the index, in the same proportions as they are weighted in the index.
The sampling approach
A manager uses mathematical models to buy a range of securities that reflect the index. It is useful when the index is very large or complex.
Key benefits In-depth research and potential for out performance
Using skill to find investments that the manager believes will help meet the investment objectives.
Spreading investments across an entire index.
Low costs
Lower investment charges compared to actively managed investments.
Key risks Higher costs
Active management costs tend to be higher which will affect the total returns of the investment.
May underperform the benchmark
Although active managers aim to beat the benchmark, this is not guaranteed.
Total market risk
Your investment reflects the index the investment follows, so if the market as a whole falls, the value of the investment falls too.
Performance constraints
Index funds are designed to provide returns that closely track their benchmark index so will not outperform the benchmark.


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